In Brief: Not-for profit organizations are increasingly adopting market-based management approaches as a way to secure a stable position in the contemporary business environment and effectively compete for funding. As a result, not-for-profits are required to fulfill specific contractual obligations and comply with stakeholder reporting policies through the regular delivery of measurable program evaluation data.
The key to delivering graphics that stand for data integrity and respect for the viewer is to choose the best graphical solution to communicate the data simply and clearly.
This study presents not-for-profit managers with a set of factors for consideration in creation of graphical visualizations of quantitative program evaluation data. Two of the most often used types of data graphics are addressed: (1) tables and (2) graphs, both members of a larger family of display methods known as charts. The study examines basic quantitative data visualization concepts necessary to portray program evaluation data accurately and comprehensibly.
Data visualization software offers seemingly endless information presentation options, but it by no means guarantees creation of quality data graphics. One of the most important findings of this research is the need for clear differentiation between graphical data and non-data elements. In order to design successful data graphics, emphasis must be placed on data elements. Non-data elements serve a secondary role and should not distract the viewer from perceiving the actual information.
The key to delivering graphics that stand for data integrity and respect for the viewer is to choose the best graphical solution to communicate the data simply and clearly. The most important task in creating successful graphical data visualizations is to choose appropriate data elements (bars, lines, slices, points, values), and present them using general data organization principles. Graphs can be used for the following data presentation purposes:
Tables can be used for the following data presentation purposes:
Below is an example of a "before" and "after" table. The "before" table is designed using:
Results—poor information perception:
Figure 1: "Before"-Poor table formatting example
The "after" table is designed using:
Results—improved information perception:
Figure2: "After"-Improved table formatting example
Research Paper Author: Ruta Stabina–2005 AIM Graduate, Program Coordinator, Continuing Education
Abstract: Graphical presentation of quantitative data greatly improves information perception, absorption, and retention. This literature review study analyzed 16 sources published between 1990 and 2005, addressing the three most frequently used quantitative business data presentation types: tables, graphs, and charts (Tufte, 2001) and graphics design. Results are presented in four tables, providing a set of factors for consideration by not-for-profit organization program managers when creating quantitative graphical data visualizations for use in program evaluation reports.